One of the most rewarding experiences about writing a book, has been the support I have found from people all over the world. I began my building up of my profile on Facebook and soon moved into the other social networks, to give everyone an idea of what was to come. The response to be honest has been overwhelming and just for example, I have people who I have never met in person who have joined my page and become fans. Its a heartwarming experience as you see the fan list grow and you receive messages from people wishing you luck, and also expressing their excitement as the publishing date moves closer. The release of my book the first in the series of Heirs to the Kingdom was to be a wonderful moment, and sure enough as I saw my own work in print the excitement was to say the least, explosive and tearful. But the honeymoon does not last, and what was a moment I will never forget, has now become a battle of pure frustration.
From the moment you publish, you become caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. On one hand you have the plight of local and independent bookshops, and the large chains, then of course you have the on-lines such as Amazon. If you favour one more than other you are in trouble. I built a web site to promote my books, this Blog is actually a part of it as the name across the top of the page shows. The site went live on May 1st 2009, it was half built, but the book was out and we watched as the site began to get hit. I had after all loaded it with extra facts and been shrewd enough to let all the social network sites know it was out there. There are adverts for Amazon, and also across many of the pages, there are little messages that show a large amount of support for all the local and independent shops. I use twitter a lot as it is a great way of letting the whole world know what the book is about and also where it is available, and yes I do mention Amazon, and my publishers outlet as well as trying to encourage local shops, and I also mention the website.
I feel that the coverage given to all parties is fair, as an Author I want bookshops to thrive and I have been an avid supporter of local shops all over the place for years, I have a huge collection of books from which a very large percentage are from local shops, I also have a good few from the larger book chains and I also buy online. I feel I have spread the wealth to everyone, in a bid to be fair and supportive to all. But you know what? Its impossible to be seen as fair by any. Its frustrating and to be quite honest, dam well annoying. I mentioned Amazon on twitter and the indie bookshops cancelled their follow, why is it such a crime to show equal respect to all?
I have had over 125 thousand hits on the web site in the first two months, that’s more than I ever dreamed of. These are all people who have taken the time to log in and look at the book because they are interested in buying it. Previous Blogs on this site have stated my experiences with local bookshops and the general book industry, but today I was told that unless I back my book with huge figures for advertising then there is really no hope of me ever getting my book on a shelf of a chain or a local bookshop. It just boggles my mind and leaves me lost for words. I have a web site that is being hit by a world full of people who want the book. 70% of them at the moment are UK based, and yet even though there is a demand to read my work, I still cannot get it on a shelf. I have to ask. Does this make sense to anyone out there, because if it does would you please explain it to me?
I have worked 24/7 for two months flat since the book was released and have been relatively successful, I mean in all honesty I know the Bowman of Loxley will not make the best sellers list. Still there is a demand that would make a substantial difference to recouping the expense of all the printing costs and also the amount of IT software I have purchased to promote the book. Yet the shelves remain empty of the violet spine of my work, and the one company that has supported me, who to be honest I have used least in the past is that of Amazon, who lets be frank, has taken it’s fair share of digs over the years. I hold up my hands because I cannot fault them, they did stock the book and they have sold copies. The locals who I have supported as you already know, have been far less than helpful, it does make me wonder how many really wonderful books are out there not being sold as their authors are self published or new. All the joy of having so many people who have read and adored my book has been tainted by the knowledge that all over this planet are those who want to read it, but never will as the bookshop does not stock it.
I read the publishing press that is screaming for more book sales and I am lost for words and frustrated beyond belief. If you have a solution or a suggestion then please you tell me, because for now I feel after two long hard years of work, I have ended up dead in the water through no fault of my own. There is a demand for The Bowman of Loxley, the social networks are talking about it, but those people are being denied a chance to purchase. I have emailed and written in vain to the large chains, their silence is unbearable, at least the locals just say no your a risk, I don’t like it, but it’s honest.
I have no choice but to continue and fight for those who want to read what I write and no doubt here on this site which has more views than I have sales, hopefully I will be able to tell you all of what it is like being a new writer in this strange world…. please call back and find out.